Thursday, March 2, 2017

New York!

With $600 worth of Southwest Airlines voucher money about to expire, an open invitation from family to come visit, and a 5th Wedding Anniversary as an excuse, we booked our tickets to New York. 

Random information and observations- 

The flight vouchers came as a compensation for a delay during our trip to Michael's wedding, 

Before this trip, the farthest east Dallin had ever traveled in the U.S. was Utah (Besides a layover in Texas).  I had been to New York once before and visited church history sites and Niagra Falls, but had never been near New York City.

I'd rather type "NY" and "NYC" than the full words, but know that I don't actually say "N. Y. C." 

I hadn't realized that the NY accent, including phrases, as depicted on TV, is not necessarily an exaggeration.

I feel like I'm normally more of a take-pictures-of-the-people person, but on this trip I took more of the neat things I got to see. And there were also a ton of sights that I simply allowed myself to experience and thus didn't take pictures of. Click here to see more of our adventure on Shannon's blog with a lot more pictures of the kids than you'll find in this post.

There is a drastic decrease in the percentage of pick-up truck drivers in Fallon, NV and NYC. I don't remember seeing a single one. 

I did a little bit of wiki-research on some of these places and added a few findings to this post.

Flying into NYC I sat by a man who was raised there. He said that anytime he comes to visit, he stops for a taste of real pizza before he even heads to see his mom.

We got an especially stereotypical first introduction to the crazy traffic of NYC because the LaGuardia Airport is under construction, making all of the honking Uber/taxi/other drivers drop off and pick up passengers in the same area.  

There were several guards / law enforcement personnel around ground zero and in the subway. 

Upon coming home from this trip, Adeline proceeded to call all of her cousins "Axel" for the next couple weeks.

Trip to Connecticut
What's the first thing we did when we got to New York you ask? We went to Connecticut of course!
We got to see where Jeff works (Blue Sky Studios), eat some of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever at their favorite bakery, and cross Connecticut off our states-we've-visited list. 

Random residential area near their home. Even outside of the city most every building is multiple stories.
I liked the little stone bridges.

Bronx Zoo
The largest metropolitan zoo in the US
Some of my favorite sights: gelada baboons sprinting towards us down grassy slopes, lemurs picking specks out of each other's coats and eating them, brother lions play fighting each other.

We were grateful to Shannon and Jeff for letting us borrow some winter gear. The one piece of our luggage that did not make it to NY at the same time we did contained all of ours.

Manhattan, NYC
Normally Shannon and Jeff use public transportation to go into the city. But with four kids, cold weather, a holiday, and the desire to see several sites in one day, it was decided that they would drive all of us in their two cars instead. I loved it. I didn't mind the traffic because I didn't have to drive and I could look around at everything. 

George Washington Bridge spanning across the Hudson River, connecting New York to the New Jersey Palisades. Looking across the Hudson to NJ.

Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

Intrepid aircraft carrier and Sea, Air, and Space Museum

First close look at NYC skyscrapers

One World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere
intentionally 1776 feet tall


Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

New Jersey across the bay

At Battery Park with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island behind us

View in the opposite direction

"Cool Globes" art installation in Battery Park

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Castle Clinton - army fort in Battery Park built to defend against British; First Immigration station before Ellis Island

National Museum of the American Indian

Wall Street Bull
Since it was Martin Luther King Junior Day, there was a loudspeaker playing the audio of his "I Have a Dream Speech" close to here.

Trinity Church and grounds- 
  • George Washington worshiped in the church that had been in this spot before this church was built.
  • Once the tallest building in the United States until 1869
  • Provided refuge to people during 9/11 
  • Alexander Hamilton is buried on the grounds. 

Alexander Hamilton's grave-site

Inside Trinity Church

Looking straight up.

9/11 Memorial

Headed to eat at Schnippers

bottom right- Oculus, World Trade Center Station, transportation hub, PATH

One World Trade Center

Some random modern architecture-
Front- IAC Building, InterActiveCorp's headquarters, designed by Frank Gehry
Behind it on left- 100 Eleventh Avenue, residential tower designed by Jean Nouvel

432 Park Avenue - the tallest residential building in the world, third tallest building in US
 The window grid and interior space of two floors between every 12 occupied floors are left open to allow the wind to pass through. Seeing this in person I am astounded. How did people build that? How is that not falling over or collapsing? I did a bit of research into the technical answers to those questions but I am still blown away. With all of the skyscrapers I had a similar thought, but this one just seems too impossibly skinny. Pencils are not meant to stand up straight. 

High Line Park - public city park on an unused, elevated railway

Empire State Building

Flatiron building- triangular, designed to fill a wedge-shaped property

Met Life Tower - Each number on the clock is four feet tall, each minute hand weighs half a ton. World's tallest building from 1909 to 1913.

The New York Public Library

Chrysler Building

Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building

St. Patrick's Cathedral and 30 Rockefeller Center
During construction, 30 Rock was the setting for the famous Lunch atop a skyscraper photograph.


Ralph Lauren flagship store inside French Renaissance revival mansion

The Met Breuer - Metropolitan Museum of Art building dedicated to modern art

The Surrey - luxury boutique hotel. Complementary: shoeshine service, plush Italian robes, and International newspapers. Their Smallest rooms are over 100 square feet larger than an average hotel room and have fireplaces and soaking tubs.

Everett woke up with a cold on our Manhattan Monday and Adeline also had a long-standing cough that led them to not be the perkiest of tourists. Shannon and Jeff took them back to their home after dropping Dallin, Peter, and me off by Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Avenue.
I did not think I was supposed to take pictures in the museum, so I didn't (except for that blurry one of us in the American Wing). We started in the section with 7th to 19th Century Art from the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. While Dallin read every description and pondered every photograph in an exhibit called: Faith and Photography: Auguste Salzmann in the Holy Land, I skimmed through most of the Greek and Roman Art, and 19th and early 20th Century European paintings. I have a new-found appreciation for portraits. They brought history to life for me, thinking of those people as actual people, not just pictures somebody thought up. Kind of like when you hear stories of your ancestors. Dallin and I came together again for the 13th to 19th century European paintings and the Egyptian art. I sat and fed Peter in a room filled with Egyptian figurines depicting servants performing tasks to aid the pharaoh in the after-life. I thought of how wonderful it would be for a school group to learn about Egypt by looking at objects made by ancient Egyptians, portraying what life was like in Egypt. Museums are a definite city-life selling point. When a museum worker came in to escort us out at closing time, I went into find-a-mummy mode, and successfully peeked at one on our way out. 

Pig Heaven - Taiwanese/Chinese restaurant

Street Art

 by Nick Walker

We initially submerged into the wrong subway entrance and bought tickets headed in the opposite direction of home. Upon realizing our error, we could not figure out how to get across the track while still underground and so we popped back up, over, and under, and then purchased new tickets. I asked directions once and was aided another time while I maneuvered the stroller. Thank you kind strangers.
Inside Grand Central Station

Good thing I stayed awake to catch our stop.


Shannon and Jeff made delicious meals and dessert for us at their home.

Pepe's Pizza- The margerita. I could eat that stuff for days. With other kinds of pizza I like to have the toppings spread out evenly to where each bite has a small piece of all of the toppings. But I let that go and savored the individual flavors of chewy, charred crust, minty fresh basil, tender mozzarella and almost drinkable simple tomato sauce, My attempts at folding it as I had seen done on TV were hindered by the drippyness of the sauce and the rectangular cut of the slices.

 I was surprised when the lady who took our order at Schnippers asked us how we wanted our hamburgers cooked. I assumed a counter-serve restaurant would serve all of their ground beef well-done. I ordered The Classic Burger from Schnippers and SmokeShack from Shake Shack. I didn't realize until later that both are hamburgers with applewood smoked bacon and the special sauce from the respective locations. The one from Scnippers had carmelized onions and baby arugula. Shake Shack's had chopped cherry peppers. 
Dallin and I shared a salted caramel custard shake from Shake Shack.

At Pig Heaven we intentionally ordered items off the menu that we were uncertain of what they would be. As it turns out, Ying Yang soong is self-serve two meat lettuce wrap and shui-mai is a type of dumpling served in a steamer basket. With four sauces to sample, the experimental excitement was endless. 

Would I want to live in NYC long-term? No. Would I love to visit again? Yes.
Thank you Shannon, Jeff and Axel!